Friday, May 11, 2012

Waldo, foster dog #23

As the header to the blog says, I am a foster home for Golden Retriever rescue.  I foster dogs with medical needs - I have had foster dogs recovering from knee or hip surgery, Lyme disease, heartworm infestation, neurological issues, and kidney disease, plus three dogs that were hit by cars.  In between, I've had a few dogs with behavior issues, but since I am a lousy trainer, I prefer to take dogs that need medical care.  I have no medical training - professionally, I am a librarian with the Chicago Public Library at the main library in downtown Chicago.  It's all been on-the-job training as a foster home over the past nine years.  As Good as Gold's website is if you are interested in finding out more about the organization.

Many people ask about my foster dogs and it can be hard to get back to everyone in a timely manner.  I thought I would try writing a blog about the dogs, so that people could stop by and read about them when it is convenient for them.  I am starting with my current foster dog but will write about fostering and my previous foster dogs in future posts.

My current foster dog is Waldo, and he is my 23rd foster dog.  Waldo was found as a stray in Northbrook, IL, and a lovely police officer named Gina picked him up, contacted As Good as Gold, and brought him to one of the veterinary clinics that we use.  She even bought special food for him!  Waldo is a small Golden male, only about 50 lbs., and is around 12 years old.  He has the cutest white face (some people call this a sugar face or sugar-faced Golden) and it is slightly crooked, so that he always looks like he is smiling at you.  I took one look at his darling face and knew I wanted to foster him!  His face reminds me of a teddy bear, so at home with family and friends, he is known as Teddy.

In addition to general weakness related to his age, Waldo was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection cause by a tick bite.  A month-long course of antibiotics knocked out the Lyme disease, but unfortunately he had it long enough for the bacteria to severely damage his kidneys.  There is no cure for kidney disease in dogs.  The disease is managed through diet and subcutaneous fluids to help flush out the toxins (uric acid) in his bloodstream.  Every day, I insert a needle under Waldo's skin and give him 500 ml. of fluid.  It takes about ten minutes, and the fluids gradually exit his body in 6 to 8 hours.

With his kidney failure in the advanced stage, Waldo has good days and bad days.  The vet says that if he was human, he would be having dialysis every day and be waiting for a kidney transplant.  Today is a good day:  Waldo ate breakfast and kept it down, he barked at me from the living room (he needed help getting up) and the patio (he wanted to come in), and he enjoyed some treats.  Also, I didn't have to wash any dog beds this morning.

Enough for today.  I will upload some pictures of Waldo with tomorrow's post so you can see just how cute he is.

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